Friday, September 15, 2017

ALARA'S CALL // Blog Tour & Visual Post

SO TODAY I AM POSITIVELY ECSTATIC TO INTRODUCE TO YOU ALARA'S CALL, BY KRISTEN STIEFFEL. I got to meet Kristen at Realm Makers a couple month ago, and roppbnrpbneborwqp vfgjkbo;qfrneg I'M SO EXCITED!!!!

Now. On to the official stuff. 😄


Tales are often told of heroes who fulfill ancient prophecies.
Alara's Call is the tale of a woman who gives new ones.

Alara sees visions of others' futures, but never her own.

A young clergywoman with a fiery passion for her Telshan faith, she has been assigned to a mission abroad but longs to lead a congregation in her homeland. Her father, the prime minister, jeopardizes her dream and her safety when he coerces her into what he calls a diplomatic mission.

But it's a ruse.

The trip is meant to end with her marriage to the crown prince of a foreign nation, where members of Alara's faith are persecuted and women oppressed. All for a trade agreement her father is desperate to enact.

But her mentor intervenes and takes Alara to Dorrel, the suitor she left behind. They believe they are safe, but foreign soldiers are under orders to bring Alara to the king's palace... by an means necessary.


Now I'm turning the reigns over to Kristen, so she can share with y'all some of the visual inspirations behind her storyworld's culture!

The storyworld in which my novel Alara's Call is set is loosely modeled on nineteenth-century Europe: several small countries close together with interrelated royal families and lots of court intrigue. The main departure from nineteenth-century technology is that my storyworld doesn't have black powder, so there are no firearms or explosives. So the armaments and therefore the armor are at more of a medieval level.

I did this mainly because although I liked the idea of departing from the usual medieval-style setting, I didn't want to bring the weaponry to a nineteenth-century level because rifles and cannons take the carnage of warfare to a different level, and I just didn't want to go there. Besides. Swords are cool.

A collection of rapiers from the fifteenth through the seventeenth centuries. {Credit: Claire H., Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 2.0 Generic license.}

Some of my characters use rapiers. Others use sabers. One of the books I read for my research was By the Sword: a History of Gladiators, Musketeers, Samurai, Swashbucklers, & Olympic Champions by Richard Cohen. At one point he discussed how the rapier, which was popular until the seventeenth century, gave way to the saber in the eighteenth century. I somehow interpreted this as implying that the saber was superior and had a character say something to that effect.

Heavy cavalry sabre on display at the Neuchâtel Arts and History museum.
{Credit: Ludo29 & Rama, CeCILL Free Software License.}

Luckily, I have a critique partner who’s studied weapons more than I have, and he pointed out that in some situations the rapier is preferred. To grossly overgeneralize, the saber is designed for fighting on horseback and the rapier for fighting on foot.

To fend off blows from either of these swords, some of my characters wear armor. The first piece I chose for them was the brigandine -- basically an armor vest covered with leather -- because that seemed cool.

Brigandine. {Credit: Scholagladiatoria,}

But what I didn't know when I started writing is that the brigandine was usually worn over a gambeson. Matt Easton of Schola Gladiatoria has a great video on the topic by which I got pretty thoroughly schooled.

So my characters needed gambesons. Which are maybe not as kick-tail looking as brigandines, but still handy to have around. Shad M. Brooks of Shadiversity explains in this video.

{Credit: Shadiversity,}

Unfortunately, by the time I learned all this great information about gambesons, I had already turned my manuscript in to my editor. Nevertheless, I asked her could I make a few tweaks, and she said yes. So I quickly rewrote all the descriptions of armor to include gambesons. Whew!

I'm really glad I didn't stop researching after I turned the manuscript in. Well, of course I had to keep researching. Book two is mostly finished, but now I'm working on book three, and it will have even more battle scenes. I think for a writer, the research is never finished.

Thanks for sharing, Kristen! 🙂


Kristen Stieffel is a freelance editor and writer who specializes in speculative fiction. Although she edits projects in various genres for both the general market and the Christian submarket, she is a novelist at heart. Member of the Editorial Freelancers Association and Christian Editor Connection, mentor with Word Weavers International, and on the planning committee for Realm Makers, Kristen stays busy doing what she loves most. She is also the associate editor of Havok, a flash fiction magazine focused on science fiction and fantasy.

Visit to learn more about this many-faceted author. Readers can also connect with Kristen via her blog, Amazon page, Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, and Pinterest.


Want to take part in the launch? Join the Facebook party on Thursday, September twenty-first, from 4-6 PM (Pacific time)!



*flails happily* SO MUCH EXCITEMENT. 😍

Have you ordered Alara's Call, yet? Will you be attending the launch party?


Blog tour images provided by L2L2.
Post banner background recovered
from Pixabay.


  1. Fantastic interview! To be honest, I had not thought of writers doing research after turning in their manuscript. That's really cool you kept researching! Thanks so much for sharing, Liv!

    1. Laura, I mainly keep researching because I still have at least three (maybe four?) more books to write in this series!

    2. Thank you for commenting, ladies! :)

  2. Liv, thanks for hosting me on your blog. Please note that the captions for the last two photos are swapped. The vest with the metal rivets is the brigandine, and the plain black one is the gambeson.

    1. Oh dear! I'll be sure to change that as soon as possible. Thanks for letting me know, Kristen! And thank you again for your lovely visual post! <3


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